The growing legalization of marijuana in the United States – 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis in some form – has largely been an economic boon for both private and government interests.
According to ArcView Market Research, a cannabis investment and research firm, retail sales of marijuana should reach $6.7 billion in 2016. That's a 24 percent jump over last year's $5.4 billion in sales.
The emergence of any new industry, cannabis included, brings with it the opportunity for new businesses and job creation.
If you want to get a (money) piece of the pot pie, here are three ways you can earn some green from legalized weed:
Entrepreneur: Next to growing marijuana and selling it (or working in one of these 16 pot-related jobs), the most obvious way to make money in the cannabis industry is to start a pot-friendly business. For example, maybe you could create a line of cannabis-infused edibles or hemp products or find another niche, like Whoopi Goldberg's menstrual relief pot products. "On-demand delivery apps, payment processing technology, co-working platforms, and other types of startups associated with more traditional industries are now popping up in light of the marijuana industry's success," says Investopedia.
Business services: Cannabis-focused businesses are no different from any other legitimate business. They have the same business service needs – IT, public relations, accounting, financial services, etc. – as any other business. "Any service or product common in the business world at large can be applied to the cannabis industry — and almost everyone with a professional skill can find an opportunity," Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily, told Daily Worth. "Look at me: I have a background in business journalism. When I first accepted my current position, people thought I was crazy, but now I'm working for a growing company with 20 employees." Although many big, national companies steer clear of the marijuana market for fear of potential backlash from the federal government, since cannabis is not legal at the federal level, smaller companies who are willing to assume some risk can be a good fit for meeting the needs of marijuana businesses.
Invest: If you have some extra money that you'd like to make a profit on, you may want to look into investing in cannabis. According to Investopedia, venture capitalists pooled together $215.2 million for the legal marijuana industry in 2015. That money went to 98 cannabis projects. "MassRoots (OTCQB: MRST), a successful social platform for marijuana connoisseurs launched in 2013, will list on the Nasdaq, according to a recent filing with the SEC," says Investopedia. "Countless other ventures such as delivery platform, Eaze, and dispensary locator, Weedmaps, are receiving attention from VCs and gaining fast traction with an active community of users."
RELATED: Marijuana laws by states
Marijuana laws by state
Marijuana laws by state
No legalization of any kind
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Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use